Starters returning/lost: 6/5
Returning lettermen: Kurt Hess
Who’s gone: Patrick Angle (transferring), Dante Nania (moving to safety)
Who’s new: Tanner Garry (walk-on)
Redshirted: Nick Wargo, Jeff Clegg
Outlook: After a stellar 2011 season, Hess took a step backward in 2012. For the Penguins to make the playoffs, he’ll need to return to his all-conference level. Angle was a talented backup but grew tired of sitting behind Hess. Wargo was impressive enough on the scout team last season for the coaches to move Nania (a talented athlete) to defense.
Returning lettermen: Torrian Pace, Adaris Bellamy, Demond Hymes
Who’s gone: Jamaine Cook, Lawrence Hughes (left team)
Redshirted: FB Zach Miller
Also: John Medina (sat out last season after transferring)
Outlook: Cook’s departure leaves a big hole; he was the team’s best player last season and in 2010. Pace looked good in limited duty last fall. Knee injuries have hurt Bellamy but he’s still a handful. Hymes is explosive but didn’t see much action last season.
Returning lettermen: TE Carson Sharbaugh, TE Nate Adams, WR Christian Bryan, WR Andre Stubbs, WR Andrew Williams, WR Kintrell Disher, WR Michael Wheary, WR Kevin Watts, WR Marcel Caver
Who’s gone: TE Will Shaw, WR Antuan Williams (left), WR Brandon Thomas (moved to CB)
Redshirted: WR Jelani Berassa (will sit out spring — injured), WR Davon Reed, TE Jordan Feeser
Also: WR Justin Getz, TE Jordan Markota (will sit out spring — injured)
Outlook: Shaw’s departure hurts; he led the team in receptions (35), yards (429) and TDs (five). Berassa tore his ACL in the summer; his absence hurt. Williams started to emerge at the end of last season and could be a big-play receiver this fall. A solid group but more is needed.
Returning lettermen: G Chris Elkins, T Kyle Bryant, C Stephen Page, G Fred Herdman, T Andrew Sinko
Who’s gone: T Andrew Radakovich, T D.J. Main, G Lamar Mady, C Mark Pratt
Who’s new: T Trevor Strickland (moved from DE), G Matt Bell (moved from DT)
Redshirted: G Dana Harris, C Mason Giacomelli, G Brock Eisenhuth, T Christian Wilson, T Dylan Colucci
Outlook: YSU loses four starters to graduation but Bryant saw plenty of action last season when Radakovich suffered a season-ending shoulder injury. Elkins, the team’s best lineman last season, could move to center. This unit is a question mark but there’s young talent here.
Starters returning/lost: 7/4
Returning lettermen: DE Kyle Sirl (will sit out spring — injured), DE Terrell Williams, DT D.J. Moss, DT Steve Zaborsky, DT Emmanuel Kromah
Who’s gone: DT Aronde Stanton, DT Nick DeKraker, DE Luis Quinones, DE Josh Fenderson, DE Chuck Lengyel, DT Anthony Szymczak (left), DE Randall Gillum (left), Strickland, Bell
Who’s new: DE Vince Coleman (junior college transfer), DE Nate Cox (junior college transfer), DT Octavius Brown (junior college transfer), DE Derek Rivers (early enrollee), Dan Calai (walk-on)
Redshirted: DT Joshmere Dawson
Also: DE Eric Myers
Outlook: Like the offensive line, graduation took a huge toll on this unit. Unlike the offensive line, head coach Eric Wolford wasn’t satisfied with his existing talent, signing four junior college players (one, Desmond Williams, will arrive this summer) and an early enrollee in Rivers (who comes from Fork Union Military Academy). YSU has been successful with this approach — at least on the defensive line — and there’s some promising young talent from Wolford’s earlier recruiting classes. Still, this is a big question mark entering the spring.
Returning lettermen: Teven Williams, Travis Williams, Dom Rich, Ali Cheaib, Terry Johnson, Kevon Caffey
Who’s gone: Donte Harvey (left), Justin Yuran (left).
Redshirted: Dubem Nwadiogbu (will sit out spring — injured), Chavien Nolcox, Tyler Carter, Dante DeLorenzo
Others: Antoine Cox
Outlook: Everyone returns from an underachieving unit. Lots of tackles but not enough big plays. Nwadiogbu started early before suffering a season-ending ACL injury. Teven and Travis Williams are entering their third years as starters and need to be the leaders of the defense.
Returning letterman: CB Dale Peterman, CB Julius Childs, CB Jamarious Boatwright, CB Parnell Taylor, FS Donald D’Alesio, SS Twin Fernandes (will sit out spring — injured), SS Josh Garner
Who’s gone: SS Jeremey Edwards, FS Deionte Williams, FS Khlique Harris (left), FS Chris Charles (left), CB Ricardo Dixon (left)
Who’s new: Nania, Thomas, Aaron Edwards (walk-on)
Redshirted: SS Jameel Smith, CB David Rivers
Outlook: Three of the four starters are back from an perennially underachieving unit. Lots of talented athletes but too many bad plays and not enough big ones. There’s no excuse for this unit not to improve.
Returning letterman: P Nick Liste, LS Nathan Gibbs
Who’s gone: K David Brown
Who’s new: P/K Joey Cejudo (junior college transfer), Tyler Hogan (walk-on)
Outlook: After a shaky junior year, Brown developed into a dependable kicker but Wolford never really trusted him to make difficult field goals. Cejudo will get the first crack at replacing him. Liste is as solid as they come.
Returning: Wolford, Shane Montgomery (offensive coordinator/quarterbacks), Joe Tresey (defensive coordinator/safeties), Tom Sims (defensive line), Glenn Davis (cornerbacks), Carmen Bricillo (offensive line), Ron Stoops Jr. (linebackers)
Who’s gone: Louis Matsakis (running backs/special teams), Frank Buffano (inside linebackers), Andre Coleman (receivers), Mauro Monz (tight ends)
Who’s new: Mark Mangino (tight ends), Jamie Bryant (special teams/assistant linebackers), Eric Gallon (running backs), Kurt Beatherd (receivers)
Outlook: After an offseason of turnover, just four coaches remain from Wolford’s original staff (Montgomery, Sims, Bricillo, Stoops). Matsakis had success with running backs but the coverage units have been a perennial problem under Wolford. Maybe a change will help. The defensive improved late last fall and should take a step forward in Tresey’s second year. Wolford enters his fourth season at YSU and the honeymoon period is over. He needs to make the playoffs.